Future blockchain-based trade platform TradeLens looks uncertain

Despite the best intentions of IBM and Maersk with TradeLens, launched at the start of 2018, the future of this blockchain-based trade platform for the real-time monitoring of ocean freight looks increasingly uncertain as it struggles to persuade companies to sign up.

So far, just one other shipping company has agreed to become involved alongside Maersk: Pacific International Lines (PIL). Marvin Erdly, head of TradeLens at IBM Blockchain, is quoted as saying that other carriers must come on board soon, otherwise there will be no product.

Numerous participants from various parts of the shipping supply chain, including ports and customs authorities, terminals, importers and logistics service providers, have signed up to the initiative. But the key links in the chain – the shipping companies themselves – have not. It appears that other carriers are against the idea of collaborating with rival industry giant Maersk.

Equality on the platform

An industry advisory board has been set up to promote equality on the platform in an effort to encourage more shipping companies to get involved. However, the fact remains that Maersk and IBM retain the full and equal rights to the intellectual property.